This spring break, students hit the road. Even many who weren’t headed off on a leisurely drive through the sunny south had adventurous road trips ahead of them — to the airport. The trip from New Haven to the airport is never a fun one. But this year it has gotten a little easier — and a lot cheaper — thanks to the YCC’s new shuttle service.
Before and after spring break, the YCC offered its second round of shuttle service, which the council first offered to students returning from winter break in January. The high demand for those inaugural rides proved not to be a fluke, as students again flocked to the council-sponsored transport to get them to and from local airports for spring break. If the shuttle’s success has taken students, or even the YCC, by surprise they are not the only ones. The day before the YCC shuttle was due to whisk students away to Hartford’s Bradley International Airport for spring break, Connecticut Limo officials met with YCC members to voice concerns that the council’s shuttles were threatening Limo’s business — a business that has long held a monopoly on students’ airport transit.
We think the YCC’s shuttle service is a great idea that offers clear-cut benefits to students and is uniquely equipped to address student needs. The competition YCC’s service provides for Connecticut Limo can only have a positive influence, and we are dismayed that Connecticut Limo would attempt to intimidate the YCC into changing the shuttle service.
The YCC announced the new shuttle service last semester, and offered its first trips in January to students travelling from Bradley back to campus after the end of winter break. The service, which charges students $15 for a one-way ride to Bradley, was direct competition for Connecticut Limo, which charges students $34 for the same trip.
The fact that the YCC shuttle is threatening Connecticut Limo business is proof of the value of the service YCC is providing. For too long Connecticut Limo has held a monopoly on travel to Bradley, resulting in highly inflated prices, long and inconvenient trips, and often unbearable wait times at the airport. The YCC is uniquely poised to respond to student needs. Because it caters only to Yale students, its shuttle service, for instance, makes none of the trip-lengthening stops that non-Yale passengers on Connecticut Limo often request.
Of course, no shuttle service can be perfect. While the nature of the YCC shuttle service has eliminated some of Connecticut Limo’s problems, there are still kinks to be ironed out. Snags hit the YCC shuttles Sunday as delays plagued the service when the busses YCC had commissioned were late picking up students. Because the YCC must contract out bus companies, problems like these unfortunately seem likely to recur from time to time, and we are not sure YCC can solve such issues. Some of these problems, however, likely result from growing pains, as the council experiments with how best to provide its new service.
Beyond these problems, though, what we hope most is that Connecticut Limo doesn’t scare the YCC out of business. If Connecticut Limo doesn’t change its practices, then there’s no way it can compete. If it does change (by bringing back the student rates it offered in the past, perhaps), we welcome some more competition to the scene — it can only be to all our benefit.